*stream of consciousness notes from today’s press conference … sorry for typos (blame the iphone):*

**William Schmidt, Michigan State University**

first research study related to teacher preparedness in math

elem and middle teachers have poor preparation to teach math

48 states adopting more rigorous standards in math (common core) – and teachers will not be prepared to teach more demanding curriculum

TIMSS 2003 show US students behind in 8th grade math

TEDS-M studie pre-service teahers in many countries – gave them a common assessment

what do future teachers know?

-elem teachers similar to many countries (middle)

-middle teachers behind teachers in other countries whose students do better on TIMMS; avg performance 150 points behind Taiwan, 100 points behind Russia and Switzerland

-no difference between public and private schools

-strong parallel between teacher knowledge and student performance

Middle School Certification is the problem

-determined by state

-3 methods:

-secondary

-middle

-k to 8

there are serious differences between these levels of preparation; those prepared in secondary pograms result in higher student performance

weaknesses in pre-service course taking in US – 10% less math-specific courses

top achieving countries pre-service teachers take more high level courses (not at elem level, but at middle school)

k-12 – curricular differences result in dramatic performance differences in student performance

large variation in teacher preparedness programs in the US (both elem and middle)

how to break the cycle …

weakness of teachers begins in grade 1; we have a weak k12 math curriculum; go on to be weak hs teachers; go on to weak pre-service programs

problem with who chooses to go on to become math teachers – they were formerly weak k12 math students

we need to recruit pre-service teachers from higher performing k12 math students

**recommendations:**

-common core curriculum based on common core standards

-states must redefine policies for teaher certification

-colleges and universities must revise programs

-recruit high achieving k12 math students to become teachers

-consider common core for teacher preparation

-require math specialization down to elementary level

**Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chiel State School Officers**

we should stop chasing multiple agendas – for example, the problem is not at the elementary level

linear algebra and calculus must be part of middle school teaher preparation common core is essential

common standards will pressure the systems need to recruit high level math and science grads into teaching; this will be complicated by coming massive retirements in teacher force; cannot afford to lower standards just to get teachers in classrooms

need full commitments from universities to make dramatic changes

should re-license teachers at state level

professional development needed for teachers in middle schools

there is merit to a national approach rather than 50 different solutions

we should look to the models that graduate students at a world class level

**Richard Stephens, Boeing Corporation**

think of education as a systems issue; education first starts at home

2nd element is well prepared teachers; teachers need more than knowledge, they need to push application so that students can use their knowledge in the workforce

kids are only in school 20% of their wakin hours – must also think about broader educational elements in terns if media and activities

shouldn’t think about beating up teachers, but how to support them

Questions:

AFT …. course titles vs actual content: high achieving countries don’t just teach content, but pedagogy

did they study for-profit teacher prep programs, alternative routes: currently studying

science magazine…. is it about high level courses, or is it that people who take those courses have more of an affinity for math; ie is it about courses or recruitment: need more analysis before making that kind of decision but clearly both have to be considered; elementary teachers generally don’t like math, middle school is a more complicated issue

math professor …. middle school teachers don’t need calculus, they need more science and teach an integrated approach: in Germany, pre service requires two majors and they often combine a math and science (they have no problems with teacher shortage as a result)

as # of teachers go down …. possibility that teacher standards would be reduced; instead we need multiple pathway into teaching BUT still need high levels of certification from state level

importance of application …. if there was a measure of achievement had elements of creativity, would US do better in international comparisons: no data support other counntries do better on regurgitation of facts vs application of math knowledge; it’s hard to be creative if you don’t have substantive knowledge to support those efforts

what is surprising about the results: performance of elem teachers is similar to other counntries, US is not particulaly bad – it has been assumed that elem teachers create the problem that middle school inherits; most astounding is the wide variation of teacher preparedness

center for alternative certification …. is there a thought about looking at how instruction is delivered: what is best place for our resources? need to consider both recruitment and preparation

curriculum … common core will help to redesign courses so that kids have more experiences with application and engagement

we don’t have an American genetic weakness in math – it’s a societal problem that adults don’t prioritize mathematical knowledge (it’s okay to say “I’m bad at math”)

this has something to do with media – “bad people” are mathematicians (big bang theory tv show) – need to change perception and that starts at school

curricularly, high level courses help wigh lower level understandings; concept, understanding, concept understanding teacher compensation? how to attract high level people to the profession? in Taiwan, only 20% of grads get teaching job – math teachers make similar salaries to oher professions – whereas in US the gap is huge state legislators? state school officers must take primary role to educate legislators – probably through state commission